The second day of the congress opened with a four-part look at the state of the cause for Father Kentenich. Doctor Gertrud Pollak introduced the topic by defining that “cause” is a legal term, a term for this legal dispute and is all about information and argumentation. It is a snail-like process, and we must accept the snail’s pace.

Schwester M. Veronika Riechel, Mitglied in der Gemeinschaft der Schönstätter Marienschwestern
Sister Veronica Reichel

Sr. M. Veronika Reichel gave an overview of the current state of the cause for Father Kentenich’s canonization. The movement was hit by several shockwaves over the past two years concerning allegations of abuse, negative reporting about Father Kentenich, and then the suspension of the cause for his canonization. Currently it is suspended but not terminated. She stated that this topic must be discussed; we cannot and do not want to hide it but desire to resolve it. In response to these shockwaves, the International Schoenstatt Movement has taken these steps.

  • First, a media commission was set up in 2020 to coordinate public work, and now it also works to address questions related to the cause and strives to reestablish Father Kentenich’s credibility.
  • Second, there are committees doing intense research into the life, teachings, and person of Father Kentenich. These committees are on differet levels: the Roman level, using documents from the Vatican archives; the international level, which is a team of researchers from within Schoenstatt; the community level, which is an intensified study of documents from the Sisters’ archives; and finally the scientific level, which is a brand new initiative and is still in development.
  • Third, there are many educational seminars and events within Schoenstatt that aim to teach the family more about Father Kentenich’s life, teachings, and person.
  • Fourth and finally, the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary took legal action against the author and publisher of the book “Father Can Do That.” Ultimately, their application was rejected by the German courts for this reason: “freedom of science must be given a wider scope and scientific freedom also covers the irrational.” It also stated that his innocence has not yet been proven. Finally, the court did not consider the allegations of abuse as an attack on his character or as defamation.

Sister Veronika reminded the participants that this struggle is all “an adventure between heaven and earth.” Ultimately, the Blessed Mother will take care and be victorious.

 

P. Eduardo Aguirre, Postulators im Seligsprechungsprozess für Pater Kentenich ist aus Costa Rica zugeschaltet
Father Eduardo Aguirre

Father Eduardo Aggirre, the postulator of Father Kentenich’s cause, stated that one great consequence of this difficult situation is that serious efforts are being made to investigate Father Kentenich’s work and actions. This helps us to understand and elaborate the mission or charism of Schoenstatt and Father Kentenich’s life.

 

Prof. Dr. Hubertus Brantzen
Prof. Dr. Hubertus Brantzen

The third speaker, Professor Brantzen, spoke about the circumstances behind Father Kentenich’s exile and how all of those things eventually lead to this moment in time. He has many educational materials about these topics which shed light on these difficult parts of Schoenstatt’s history and present. There were many actors involved in the conflict then, and the problems arose because of their clash in values and understanding of the future of the church.

 

Schwester Dr. M. Elizabet Parodi, Schönstätter Marienschwester
Sister Elizabeth Parodi

Finally, Sister Elizabeth Parodi discussed the importance of understanding the charism of Schoenstatt within the Church. She stated that Schoenstatt was born within an existing order, the Pallottines, and at the brink of a paradigm shift within the church. Father Kentenich looked to the “new shore,” but the church was still anchored in the old. This process of researching the founder’s life, teachings, and person must try for a synopsis of the charism of Schoenstatt as well, for the good of the movement and in its relation to the Church.

There are some short articles concerning Father Kentenich’s cause on this website.

A Glimpse of Schoenstatt in Society

In the afternoon, the participants were able to attend a few different workshops. There were five scheduled workshops.

1.     Synodality in Schoenstatt

2.     Schoenstatt’s presence and effectiveness in society

3.     Schoenstatt’s Pedagogical influence in society

4.     Kentenich Intensive Course

5.     Synodality in the Movement

 

Youthful Pentecost

There was another workshop which was added to the schedule earlier in the morning: a mini-Pentecost for the youth. This meeting was for the whole afternoon, and only youth and two moderators, a priest and a Sister, were invited. It was an opportunity for the youth to discuss their place in the movement, how they see themselves and how they relate to the rest of the family. The goal of the meeting was to formulate concrete goals and expectations to propose to the congress and to put into the memorandum as action points for the coming five years. More information about their ideas and proposals will be released over the weekend, once they have concluded their discussions.

Handing on the flame

The day ended in the Adoration Church with a time of community prayer and adoration. There was a beautiful ceremony of passing the torch of Schoenstatt to the next generation. The older generation passed on literal torches to the youth, but these torches are symbolic of the mission of Schoenstatt. Then the youth sang from the zeal in their hearts and declared, “Here I am.”

Inspirations from the Day

 

Kayla Doll, from the youth of the USA, shared her impressions from the talks about Father Kentenich. “Schoenstatt and each individual, in order to live the mission, needs to ask the question: who is father (Kentenich) for me?” This question is important because he is inseparable from Schoenstatt because he is one of the three contact points in the covenant of love. If we don’t stand by him, we will fail. He and the Blessed Mother have the answers to the needs of our times; it’s just a matter of “conjugating” them into the present tense, into the present time.

She was also struck by the greatness of our mission in Schoenstatt. “It’s exciting and terrifying and if we try to do it alone, we will fail… But, Mother takes perfect care and is victorious.” Kayla’s hopes for the congress are that people will be open, will let the Blessed Mother and Father Kentenich lead them. She hopes that people will be open to each other in their conversations and will acknowledge the difficulties of working together as a family so that we can work on them together. She hopes that everyone will not get hung up on their differences or disagreements but will trust that Father Kentenich and the Blessed Mother will lead the family.